Pay for your seat location? No way. Here are 16 ways to save at the movies

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Now that America’s largest movie theater chain is about to start charging ticket prices based on your seat location, it’s time to start thinking about how you can save money at the movies.

Seriously, folks, AMC Theatres’ new pricing policy has pissed off a lot of people. For example, actor Elijah Wood says it would penalize low-income moviegoers. Frodo tweeted, “The movie theater has always been a sacred democratic space for all.”

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Still, by the end of the year the front seats at every AMC theater will be cheaper while the best seats in the middle will cost more.

It’s just another way for them to corner you, if you ask us.

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16 Ways to Save Money at the Movie Theater

Luckily, we’ve got ideas for how you can save a buck or two at the movies. Check out our list of 16 Ways to Spend Less at the Theater.

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1. Go to Matinees

Going to a matinee can reduce the ticket price by up to 30%, but check out the theater’s definition of “matinee”.

Shows before 4pm in most theaters were called matinees, but some now charge an evening price for anything starting after 3pm

2. Go to pre-matinees

Some theaters actually offer even better deals for early movies – “pre-matinees.”

These usually apply to movies starting before noon.

3. Go Tuesday!

America’s three biggest movie theater chains have the same discount day – Tuesday. You also have to join their customer loyalty club to get the Tuesday discount, but it’s usually free.

AMC: The biggest chain in the US gets a discount on Tuesdays if you’re a member of its loyalty club, called AMC Stubs. You can join for free, although there is also a premium option that you can pay for if you prefer. For Discount Tuesdays, ticket prices vary by location.

Regal Cinemas: Tuesdays at these theaters are Regal Value Days, when Regal Crown Club members receive discounted movie ticket prices and 50% off popcorn. The club is free to join. A look at this theater-by-theater list shows that most Regal theaters charge $5 or $5.95 for movie tickets on Tuesdays.

Cinemark: This theater chain has a discount on Tuesdays if you’re a Cinemark Movie Rewards member. There’s a free option or a $10-per-month option that gives you more benefits. Again, ticket prices on Tuesdays vary by location.

4. Buy at Your Warehouse Club – In Person or Online

Seriously, you should be making full use of those Warehouse Club memberships! If you shop at Sam’s Club or Costco, ask about theater tickets at the customer service desk. They often have them at a discount.

Costco also sells theater tickets at a discount online, and so does Sam’s Club.

5. Try Groupon

This is nonsense, of course. But you can always hop on Groupon to see what kind of movie ticket deals are out there. We see deals for AMC, Regal and Cinemark theaters out there.

Another option to check out here is the website LivingSocial.

6. Eat Before You Go

These days, a lot of movie theaters go beyond popcorn, sno-caps, and resinettes. If you’re hungry, you’ll find hot dogs, nachos, cheese fries, chicken tenders, pizza…

And they are definitely overpriced.

It would be better if you have dinner in a restaurant first.

Save even more money by eating at home before you go.

7. Share Snacks

Theaters do not want you to bring your own food.

But we haven’t seen them deter parents who bring their own paper bags to distribute a big bucket of popcorn among the kids.

This is much cheaper than buying a small bag of popcorn for each person. Share other snacks to save money.

8. Get Exclusive Discounts

You may be eligible for a special discount — and you could save up to 35%. Here are some examples:

9. Buy Discount Movie Gift Cards

There are many places where you can buy discounted theater gift cards online. For example, you can buy AMC gift cards at online marketplaces like Rise for up to 25% off.

Use them for matinees, and your total cost could be less than half the price of an evening ticket.

10. Go to a Discount Theater

These are also called late running movie theatres. You’ll only see one movie, so why not wait a few months and watch it in less time?

Simply search for “discount theaters” and the name of your city to find cheap movies.

11. Join the Club

Most theaters have a club or loyalty program that you can join to save money. Here are some examples:


AMC Stubs, the loyalty club of the largest theater chain, has three levels.

Insider is free and you get perks like Discount Tuesdays, which is probably the main draw here. You also earn $5 back for every $50 you spend. Premiere seems expensive to us. It costs $15 per month and lets you reserve theater tickets online for free. You can also increase the size of your popcorn and fountain drinks. Doesn’t sound like a big deal. A-List lets you watch three movies a week for $20 a month. That’s a lot of movies. Regal Cinema

The Regal Crown Club is free to join and gives you access to Regal Value Days on Tuesdays, where you get discounted ticket prices and 50% off popcorn.


Cinemark has Movie Fan, which is free, and Movie Club, which costs $10 a month and gets you one movie a month plus 20% off.

12. Go to the Drive-in Theater

Check or to see if there is one of the few remaining drive-in theaters near you.

Call or check online to see if they have discount days or price-per-car nights when you can bring the whole family or split the cost with friends. And check out our tips for maximizing the fun.

13. Go to the Advance Screening for Free

Movie companies sometimes give away free tickets to advance screenings to the public. If you get one, go early – movie screenings often get overbooked.

Here are some places you can check to see if there is anything available near you:

For more tips on how to snag these freebies, check out The Penny Hoarder’s post on ways to get free tickets to movie screenings.

14. Buy in Bulk for Discounts

At, save up to $5 per ticket for some theaters if you buy more than four tickets at a time. At Costco, you get a discount when you buy a 10-pack of tickets at the store.

15. Go on the Late Show

Some theaters offer cheap tickets for late night shows – sometimes at matinee prices.

Shows usually start around midnight. If you’re a night owl, this can be a great way to avoid the crowds and save a few bucks.

16. Sit Front Row at AMC Theaters

If you happen to sit in the front row, you’re in luck! Although it is not really the favorite place of most movie goers.

Here’s how tickets will cost at all AMC movie theaters through the end of the year:

AMC says the most desirable seats in the middle of the theater will cost a “slight premium” compared to regular theater seats, which will remain the most common choice. The current price for those regular seats will continue. Front row seats are “value seating” and will cost less than a normal seat.

It’s up to you, but you might want to avoid neck strain and do regular squats. You can always save a few bucks by not buying those raisins.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Steve Gilman is a former contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

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